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Your Guide to 40 of the Most Prominent Internet Slang Terms

Your Guide to 40 of the Most Prominent Internet Slang Terms

Hey fam! Strap in, bc we’re about to go over some Internet slang terms that, ngl, are pretty fire.

Okay, sorry. You can stop cringing now, I’m done. If you were struggling through that last bit, though, you’re probably not alone. There are countless Internet slang terms out there which, if you’re above 25 (or if you’re just not chronically online), you may not know. That’s why on this page, I’ll be defining 40 of the most ubiquitous online slang terms out there.

Of course, these 40 terms are just the tip of the iceberg. The reality is, there are more Internet phrases and acronyms out there than anyone could possibly count, especially when you consider that many of those terms aren’t limited to the Internet. Still, these 40 terms are a good start.

So, if you’re desperate for help understanding “the youth,” keep reading to learn more. And if you ARE “the youth”… feel free to sit back and watch me proceed to ruin every single one of these terms for you by trying to explain them.

This list is divided into two sections. Many Internet slang terms are acronyms, so we’ll start by covering 20 Internet acronyms. The second half of this list consists of 20 non-acronym terms, which I’ll refer to as Internet phrases. For each term, I’ll give the meaning, as well as an example of the term in context.

Keep reading to find out more. And if you’re interested in learning more about the digital world — particularly digital marketing — be sure to subscribe to our email newsletter, Revenue Weekly!

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20 Internet acronyms

A lot of the online slang out there takes the form of acronyms. These acronyms usually represent normal words and phrases, but they can still be some of the hardest terms to understand if you’re not sure which words the letters represent.

To help you boost your slang knowledge, here are 20 of the most common Internet acronyms out there!

1. BC

Meaning: because

Example: “I’m gonna stay home today bc I’m not feeling great.”

2. BRB

Meaning: be right back

Example: “Brb, gonna go grab a snack.”

3. BTW

Meaning: by the way

Example: “Oh, btw, are we hanging out on Saturday?”

4. DM

Meaning: direct message (can be a noun or a verb)

Examples: “I heard she slid into his DMs.”

“Don’t post it on social media, just DM me about it.”

5. FYI

Meaning: for your information

Example: “FYI, my car’s in the shop this week, so I can’t give you a ride.”

6. GTG (or G2G)

Meaning: got to go

Example: “Gtg, I’ll talk to you later.”

7. IMO (or IMHO)

Meaning: in my opinion (or “in my honest opinion” for IMHO)

Examples: “IMO, yellow just isn’t an appealing color.”

“Pippin was the real hero of The Lord of the Rings, IMHO.”

8. IRL

Meaning: in real life

Example: “We’ve played a lot of games together online, but we’ve never met IRL.”

9. IYKYK

Meaning: if you know, you know (referring to experiences or jokes only shared by certain people)

Example: “Getting checked out of school early is the best feeling as a kid. #iykyk”

10. LMK

Meaning: let me know

Example: “No rush, just lmk whenever you make a decision.”

11. NBD

Meaning: no big deal

Example: “Do you want me to do that for you instead?” “Nah, it’s NBD.”

12. NGL

Meaning: not gonna lie

Example: “NGL, I didn’t really enjoy that book.”

13. NSFW

Meaning: not safe for work (commonly indicating something inappropriate or graphic)

Example: “It’s a funny video, but it’s a little NSFW, so don’t watch it with your kids.”

14. OfC

Meaning: of course

Example: “I’ve heard the party wasn’t very fun, but ofc I don’t know since I wasn’t there.”

15. OG

Meaning: original (can be a noun or an adjective)

Examples: “Most of the OG White House was burned down by the British.”

“I do like Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, but Tobey Maguire will always be the OG.”

16. OP

Meaning: original poster (referring to the person who begins a social media/forum thread)

Example: “OP, what did you mean by that last sentence in your post?”

17. TBH

Meaning: to be honest

Example: “I’m not really much of a cat person, TBH.”

18. TFW

Meaning: that feeling when (often used alongside images)

Example: “TFW you’re trying to dry off dishes with a towel that’s already wet…”

19. TL;DR

Meaning: too long; didn’t read (used to offer a short summary at the end of a long piece of text)

Example: “… and then I finally got home. TL;DR I missed three different flights on my way back from LA.”

20. WDYM

Meaning: what do you mean

Example: “WDYM you thought *I* had the kids???”

20 Internet phrases

Not all of the online slang terms out there are Internet acronyms. For the second half of this list, we’ll be looking at 20 non-acronym Internet phrases that you might run across. Unlike with most of the acronyms, you may hear a lot of these terms used in actual speech, not just in writing — particularly among Gen Z.

1. Cap (or no cap)

Meaning: a lie (or “no lie,” for no cap)

Examples: “He said that? Nah, man, that’s cap, I don’t know what he’s talking about.”

“It’s literally the best song I’ve ever heard, no cap.”

2. Caught in 4K

Meaning: caught red-handed (often in reference to a photo or video)

Example: “He said he was home sick, but then we ran into him at the store. Bro got caught in 4K.”

3. Cringey (or cringe)

Meaning: cringeworthy, embarrassing

Examples: “Thinking back on my high school self is so cringey.”

“Watching Matthew try to define all of these slang terms is super cringe.”

4. Dead

Meaning: overwhelmed with laughter (used in response to something extremely funny)

Example: “Dude, I’m dead. That’s so funny.”

5. Fam

Meaning: family (used to refer to literal family members, but also to friends)

Examples: “I can’t go next week, I’ll be on vacation with the fam.”

[to friends] “Hey fam, what’s up?”

6. Fire

Meaning: extremely good (often in reference to something like music or food)

Example: “Dude, the latest Paramore single is straight fire.”

7. Flex

Meaning: brag (often by showing off; can be a noun or a verb)

Examples: “He tried to show you his shoe collection? That’s a weird flex, but okay.”

“She’s really flexing on them with her history knowledge right now.”

8. Ghost

Meaning: deliberately ignore, refuse to respond (usually through texts or social media)

Example: “I tried to text her, but she just ghosted me, so I gave up.”

9. GOAT

Meaning: greatest of all time (technically an acronym, but spoken and written like the regular word)

Example: “You bought us all donuts??? Bro, you’re the goat.”

10. Gucci

Meaning: good (usually in reference to how someone is doing)

Example: “Hey man, how’s it going?” “It’s all Gucci, how about you?”

11. Highkey

Meaning: extremely, definitely (typically used to express strong feelings)

Example: “I highkey want to visit Europe when I can actually afford it.”

12. Lowkey

Meaning: kinda (or to indicate that something should be kept discreet)

Examples: “Pasta is lowkey the best kind of food.”

“Lowkey, I kinda wish Kelcey hadn’t come to this party.”

13. L and W

Meaning: loss (L) and win (W)

Examples: “Sorry, Caleb, but Sarah won that game. Just take the L.”

“I’m confident that Auburn will stomp Georgia this season and bring home another W.”

14. Mid

Meaning: mediocre (typically used in a derogatory sense)

Example: “Honestly, the last few Marvel movies have been kinda mid.”

15. Mood

Meaning: relatable person or attitude (sometimes used in a sentence, but sometimes stands alone)

Examples: “Shaggy always wanting something to eat is such a mood.”

“I really hate working in customer service.” “Mood.”

16. Shook

Meaning: shaken, shocked

Example: “Wait, Isaac is in high school already?? There’s no way. I am SHOOK.”

17. Stan

Meaning: fierce supporter, huge fan (usually applies to celebrities; can be a noun or a verb)

Examples: “I’m a Shania Twain stan.”

“We stan actors who support their costars.”

18. Tea

Meaning: gossip

Example: “Wait, you saw the whole thing? What happened? Spill the tea!”

19. Throw shade

Meaning: deliver subtle or passive-aggressive criticism

Example: “When he kept emphasizing personal hygiene, he was obviously throwing shade at Dave.”

20. Troll

Meaning: someone who purposely provokes anger online (can be a noun or a verb)

Examples: “Don’t respond to trolls in the comments. You’re just giving them what they want.”

“I don’t think he even really believes what he posted there; he’s just trolling them.”

Learn how to reach people on the Internet with WebFX

Now that you know all of these Internet slang terms, you may be eager to start using them. But keep in mind that not everyone uses all of these terms. (I’m technically part of Gen Z, but I’ve never once used the phrase “no cap.”) Also, slang changes quickly, so there’s no telling how long these acronyms and phrases will remain in use.

All that to say, don’t feel like you should be throwing out these terms in random conversations — not unless your goal is to embarrass any teens and twenty-somethings in the vicinity. But at the very least, this list should help you understand those terms when other people use them.

Anyway, that wraps up this blog post. If you’re just a regular adult desperate to understand the youth, I hope you found this helpful. But maybe you’re someone trying to learn these terms so that you can better communicate with a young audience in your online marketing.

If that’s the case, I can’t say I recommend trying to use most of this online slang in your marketing — that’ll probably just come off as (to use our new vocab) cringey. But there are definitely other ways you can improve your digital marketing, and at WebFX, we know what it takes to do that.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to power up your marketing campaigns, be sure to subscribe to our email newsletter, Revenue Weekly. And if you want help running those campaigns, be sure to give us a call at 888-601-5359 or contact us online today!

The Internet in Real Time

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